Tuesday, July 08, 2014

TOP STORY >> Reserves unit to be activated


The Air Force Reserve Command will activate the 913th Airlift Group at Little Rock Air Force Base during a ceremony at 9 a.m. Sunday.Maj. Gen. Mark A. Kyle, commander of the 22nd Air Force, will present the unit’s new guidon to Col. Edsel A. (Archie) Frye, the unit’s commander.

The 913th takes the place of the 22nd Air Force, Detachment 1, which was
activated in March 2011 with Frye commanding a handful of personnel on base.

The new unit has eight C-130s and has more than 500 personnel. It is authorized to grow to approximately 850 airmen and civilians next year.

The group’s annual budget is about $20 million a year, Frye said Tuesday.

“The Air Force Reserve here at Little Rock Air Force Base has been preparing
for this transition for a while, and we’re proud to have a more visible place in Team Little Rock,” Frye said.

Approximately 28 percent of the members work fulltime as Air Reserve technicians and civil servants, while the rest are traditional Reservists. Their slogan is “Stationed locally — serving globally.”

Some will make $70,000 a year, Frye said.

Frye said the Reserves can stretch a dollar further because they have many part-timers. Frye previously commanded the 931st Air Refueling Group at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan. Frye was born in West Virginia and grew up in Duncan, S.C.

The unit’s new designation is a reactivation of the 913th, a Reserve unit of the 22nd Air Force that was deactivated in September 2007 at its home station of Willow Grove, Penn.

The new airlift group will have at least 10 C-130s, which will add to the airlift capacity and significance of Little Rock Air Force Base as the worldwide C-130 center of excellence.

The planes assigned to the new group would raise the number of C-130s at Little Rock to 95, with 41 of them C-130Js and about 50 more the older C-130H models.

The 913th could also receive additional planes from Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, which were slated to go to Pope Air Force in North Carolina.

The 913th has its own headquarters on base and has worked alongside of the 314th Airlift Wing and 189th Airlift Wing for nearly three years as part of the formal training unit mission at Little Rock Air Force Base.

The unit began transitioning to a combat mission last October and is integrated with the 19th Airlift Wing’s 50th Airlift Squadron and their aircraft maintenance unit.

The 913th includes a headquarters unit, the 327th Airlift Squadron, the 913th Operations Support Squadron, the 913th Maintenance Squadron, the 96th Aerial Port Squadron, the 913th Force Support Squadron and the 913th Aerospace Medical Squadron.

The new group at the base is part of a shift toward more Air Force Reserves as a cost-saving measure as detailed in the Air Force portion of the fiscal 2015 defense budget.

Under President Obama’s proposed budget, the Air Force will receive funding to support 59 active, Reserve and Guard combat-coded air squadrons, with an emphasis on meeting emerging threats, according to a Defense Department press release.

Leader senior staff writer John Hofheimer contributed to this report.